Senator backs forum to improve Oro River Basin-A A +A
Friday, July 20, 2012
A COLLABORATIVE workshop to improve the condition of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin was convened on Thursday in an effort to develop effective risk management strategies.
This, in the aftermath of killer typhoon Sendong seven months ago that left still over 3,000 families living in evacuation centers, along with the loss of thousands of lives and billions of pesos in damage of properties in the locality.
Senator Loren Legarda, who led the regional forum, urged the local government units (LGUs) to recognize the importance of the creation of a local action plan in every community based on the resources, vulnerability and the geo-hazard map provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Legarda, chair of the senate committee on climate change, organized the workshop in partnership with the Local Government Academy (LGA) and the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID) in a hotel here in the city.
In her opening speech, Legarda said, in the case of Cagayan de Oro River basin, the steep and degraded slopes leading to the river plus the occurrence of heavy rainfall will leave the people at great risk of flash floods in a single extreme weather event only.
The Philippines, according to Legarda, is the world’s most disaster-hit country in 2011 as reported by the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center that cost the country at least P26 billion and displaced 15.3 million people due to natural hazards.
“How can we achieve our collective aim for economic development and deliver the benefits our people long deserve, when every passing year, disasters such as flash floods and landslides from stronger typhoons and heavier rains claim countless lives and ruin our communities and livelihood?” Legarda added.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin and its tributaries cover a total area of 136,000 hectares, with about 80 percent of its drainage basin located in the province of Bukidnon while the rest are in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
The workshop, attended by different local government units (LGUs), academe, non-government organizations from Northern Mindanao, aims to turn every province, city and municipality disaster-resilient while emphasizing the role of cooperation among LGUs and stakeholders. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 20, 2012.